Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Inverted totalitarianism -- Sheldon Wolin's argument

Sheldon Wolin, political theorist who is now emeritus professor of politics
at Princeton, writes about the phenomenon of "Invertered Totalitarianism"
in the May 19 issue of The Nation.


"No doubt these remarks will be dismissed by some as alarmist,
but I want to go further and name the emergent political system
"inverted totalitarianism." By inverted I mean that while the current
system and its operatives share with Nazism the aspiration toward
unlimited power and aggressive expansionism, their methods
and actions seem upside down. For example, in Weimar Germany,
before the Nazis took power, the "streets" were dominated by
totalitarian-oriented gangs of toughs, and whatever there was of
democracy was confined to the government. In the United States,
however, it is the streets where democracy is most alive--while the
real danger lies with an increasingly unbridled government."

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